CPS Cases in Clark County & SW Washington
Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services (CPS) exists to protect children in danger. Any person can report an instance of abuse or neglect to CPS, which investigates the allegations. However, CPS is a large, bureaucratic organization that sometimes lacks sensitivity to unique family dynamics and can overlook the rights of parents and not adhere to the boundaries of state power. These oversights can act to the detriment of the same children and families that CPS seeks to assist.
An effective attorney like Linda Staples can help you during this critical investigation phase. She has a wealth of experience in child welfare cases and brings compassion and understanding to your side. She knows that the happiness and health of your child is most important to you, and has spent years in the courtroom as a powerful advocate in dependency hearings and administrative law, and has earned a reputation in this area of the law.
Family Assessment Response
What is FAR?
Family Assessment Response (FAR) is an alternative Child Protective Services (CPS) pathway. It gives the Department a new way to respond to screened-in reports of low to moderate abuse and neglect.
In Washington, child welfare law is generally referred to as Dependency Law. A dependent child is any child under the age of 18 who has been abandoned, abused, or neglected, or else has no capable parent, guardian, or custodian. The child is therefore in danger of physical or psychological harm. Once a dependency petition is filed, juvenile court holds a hearing within 72 hours. (Shelter care.) If the court finds that the child is dependent, the court can remove the child from the home and place in foster care or with a relative, or in some cases, the child can remain at home.
A child generally enters the dependency system when Child Protective Services (CPS), a division of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) files a dependency petition. By law, the parents receive remedial services. The case is reviewed periodically, until:
- The child returns to the parents
- Permanent placement is formalized or
- Parental rights are terminated
In a dependency case, each party should be represented by an attorney. Linda Staples has extensive experience representing clients in this complex area of the law.
Parental Rights and Relative Placement
It is devastating when the State takes a child from the home. But parents still have many rights. Without an attorney who understands these rights and can navigate the child welfare system, it can be difficult to protect parental rights. Moreover, Washington law prefers that children removed from their parents’ custody be placed with suitable family. Unfortunately, DSHS does not always locate relatives, and the children are consequently placed in foster care. After DSHS identifies relatives, the organization is sometimes reluctant to move the child from foster care.
Linda Staples has handled hundreds of cases involving parental rights. She has the knowledge and compassion to effectively guide you through this process and protect your rights as a parent. she can work with the family to advocate for grandchildren, nieces, or nephews to be placed with relatives. The common desire is to keep siblings together.
Dependent Children and Youth
The court must heed a child’s voice in a dependency case. Although the courts’ practices vary by county, the court appoints a guardian ad litem (GAL) or a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) to advocate for the child’s best interests. The court can appoint an attorney to represent the stated interests of a youth over the age of 12 and by statute some children are appointed their own attorney. Most dependent youths have a perspective incomparable with any other party in the dependency case and courts are obligated to listen to the youth’s perspective because they are the most affected by the rulings.
Child Abuse Administrative Findings
While a dependency proceeding is pending, the judge in an administrative proceeding that is concurrent and independent can issue findings of abuse or neglect. Findings can be made regarding:
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Negligent treatment of a child
Foster parents play a key role for children throughout dependency and administrative proceedings and can also be investigated for allegations of abuse and neglect, similarly to any person who parents a child. These findings can affect a person’s eligibility to foster a child or work in some areas of employment. They may lose their current job based on these findings.
Child in Need of DSHS Assistance or CPS (CHINS)
At times children, whether biological or adopted, may develop such serious mental health issues that a parent cannot safely and effectively handle the child alone. Each family that finds itself in this situation faces a unique set of problems.